Rekha came from a poor family of farmers. Her alcoholic father beat her disabled mother. Rekha’s prospects were very limited. Then she joined an adolescent group with one of Broadwell Christian Hospital’s community projects. Rekha’s leadership skills grew and the staff invested in her growth. Even as a young woman, she became a true leader in her community, heading the advocacy initiative for her basti (slum). She also visited the district magistrate twice to submit an application for electricity. Rekha had a strong desire to get a college education, but there seemed to be no way that she could afford it. Having a degree would make a big difference in the marriage she would end up in and in the respect and autonomy she would experience in her life. Broadwell’s community project staff helped her get a sewing machine, and Rekha began mending and sewing clothing in her basti. With the first 2,000 rupees ($30) she earned, she applied for admission to a bachelor’s degree program. She continues to earn money for her family, and she also plans to enroll in the women’s police force.
Najina was destitute and lived in a mud house with her husband and five children. Her husband mended tires on the highway and earned a meager income. Since Najina had no steady source of income, Broadwell Christian Hospital’s community project staff gave her a goat. She took diligent care of it and now she has three goats and one more on the way. Najina has promised to give one goat to someone in need, just as Broadwell did for her.
Kishanpal is disabled but he is very active in the village of Aadharpur. When Broadwell’s community project staff loaned him some seed money for a business, he began selling peanuts. Once peanut season was over, Kishanpal moved on to bananas. His income began to increase and he was careful to save. He also used his earnings to improve his children’s welfare. Next Kishanpal moved on to selling fruits like pomegranates, apples, and grapes at a major roadway junction near town. Now his business has expanded to three carts and he is very thankful to Broadwell for giving him this opportunity. The seed money they gave him has definitely sprouted, flowered, and borne fruit in the life of Kishanpal.
Reena was an active girl who longed for higher education. She lived in Ajgawan village and her parents wanted to marry her off. But Reena became actively involved in an adolescent group with Broadwell’s community project, participating in dramas on issues like gender sensitization and women’s empowerment. Reena convinced her parents to let her apply for admission into Broadwell’s nurse assistant course. She completed the course in six months and continued on to an internship. Reena is a very bright student and she stands out in her community. When she began the nurse assistant course, some people in the community criticized her father for allowing her to study because they felt it was better for her to just get married. But Reena’s father stood by her and supported her fully in her endeavor. The community projects’ ability to open up opportunities for young women like Reena is a significant step toward changing the cultural barriers they face.